How to Beat the Dealer at Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game in which players compete against the dealer. Each player is dealt two cards and if their initial total is 21 or higher they win. However, players should be aware that the dealer has a hidden card which they cannot see. This is known as the hole card and can make a difference to the player’s outcome. In addition, the rules of blackjack vary by casino and variant. A dealer’s skills, knowledge and professionalism are crucial to the success of a blackjack table.

Dealing cards

The dealer deals two cards to each player and then takes one card face up for himself. The players can then hit (take another card) or stand according to predefined rules. The dealer will then reveal his card and draw additional cards to his hand until he has a total of 17 or more. Players can ask for extra cards if they are not satisfied with their hand, but if they go over 21 they lose the bet.

Counting cards

Keeping track of the value of each card can help you increase your chances of winning blackjack. It is important to learn the different point values of cards such as aces and fives and practice counting until you are confident with your ability. There are many counting systems to choose from, but Hi-Lo is a common method. You can also keep a true count, which is the running total divided by the number of decks in play, to gain more insight into your odds of beating the dealer.

Splitting pairs

Some players may choose to split their pair of cards if they are dealt with two of the same numbers such as two aces or two tens. This creates two separate hands which are played independently. Splitting a pair of aces will only count as 11 points, but splitting two tens will count as 21.

Doubling down

Increasing your bet by as much as double your original bet is possible when playing blackjack. This is a risky move because you could lose both of your original bets. It is recommended that you only do this if you are confident that you can beat the dealer.

Watching the dealer

The way that a blackjack dealer glances at his hidden card can tell you a lot about his current hand. How long he looks at the card and at what angle he bends it are the most important aspects to look for. Spending time watching the dealers at a table before you join to play can help you get a feel for their tells and improve your odds at winning. It is also advisable to study the rules of blackjack in detail before you sit down at a table. This will enable you to understand how the game works and which decisions are the best for you.